B.O.S.S. Calls Turner Prize Nomination ‘Extractive and Exploitative’
They said art institutions weren't properly equipped to work with collectives, and questioned Tate's support for Black artists.
B.O.S.S. artists portrait (2019). Photo: Theodorah Ndovlu.
In the statement, which they linked to their Instagram yesterday, the collective said art institutions provide inadequate financial remuneration to collectives and posited an 'in-built reverence for individual inspiration over the diffusion, complexity and opacity of collaborative endeavour.'
'The urgency with which we have been asked to participate, perform, and deliver demonstrates the extractive and exploitative practices in prize culture, and more widely across the industry – one where Black, brown, working class, disabled, queer bodies are desirable, quickly dispensable, but never sustainably cared for,' they said.
B.O.S.S. is one of five collectives nominated for the Turner prize alongside Array Collective, Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical, and Project Art Works. This is the first time in the prize's history that all of the nominees are collectives.
Each collective will present their works at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry from 29 September 2021 to 12 January 2022. The winners will be named on 1 December and receive £25,000 (US $35,000). The other shortlisted groups will each get £10,000 ($14,000).
A spokesperson for Tate said, 'Both the team at the Herbert in Coventry and Tate want the collectives to feel supported and look forward to working with them on the Turner Prize exhibition over coming months.'
'Given the larger number of artists involved in the Prize this year, all the shortlisted collectives are each receiving £10,000 for their participation rather than the £5,000 given in previous years,' they said.
The statement B.O.S.S. shared also drew attention to the plight of Black artist Jade Montserrat, who was allegedly prevented from participating in a show at the Tate following claims she was abused by art dealer and Tate patron Anthony d'Offay. Tate severed ties with d'Offay in 2020 following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and racism.
'Tate has censored the participation of Jade Montserrat in this year-long programme,' tweeted artist and curator Amy Sharrocks in September last year. Tate commissioned Sharrocks to produce the programme Rumour of Waves, which was ultimately canceled.
'We understand that we are being instrumentalised in this moment,' said B.O.S.S. in their statement. 'We ask ourselves: how can a BPOC queer collective of artists and cultural workers be nominated for the Turner Prize whilst Black women artists continue to be silenced?'
This year's Turner Prize nominees were selected by a jury comprising: Aaron Cezar, Director, Delfina Foundation; Kim McAleese, Programme Director, Grand Union; Russell Tovey, Actor; and Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain.
In a statement announcing the nominees on 7 May, Farquharson said, 'After a year of lockdowns when very few artists have been able to exhibit publicly, the jury has selected five outstanding collectives whose work has not only continued through the pandemic but become even more relevant as a result.'
B.O.S.S. countered that the Tate employees who came together to protest job cuts last year were 'not adequately recognised'.
Farquharson also said, 'One of the great joys of the Turner Prize is the way it captures and reflects the mood of the moment in contemporary British art.' —[O]